Over these past weeks I have been in email contact with Suva Grammar Principal, Mr Chandra Segran Pillay, to ask him for his submission for a suitable project that ex-students in the SGS Diamond Jubilee 2020 Facebook Group and overseas ex-scholars can support.
Mr Pillay has informed me as follows:
“We have a working Old Scholars Association (Grammar Rise Up – GRU) and a PTA. These bodies support me with extracurricular activities and academic improvement (extra classes, tuitions). The Associations have managed to convince the PM’s Office to look into our swimming pool. The PM’s Office has called tenders for scoping and I hope to see another tender called for the renovations.
We have progressed with a few capital projects such as changing roofs for most classrooms. I wish to work with the Ministry and PTA/Old Scholars to change roofs for Science Block and carry out major renovations to one of the main teaching block – Year 10. However, the concern is asbestos in tiles and old panels and I am working with Ministry of Education to see how it could be removed.
With the help of some of the old scholars, we are trying to draw up a plan for an extended library as the current library is too small for a roll of 1000 students.
Being right in the hub of Suva/Fiji, we also wish to expand in IT. By the end of this year, we plan to upgrade our server and upgrade pcs for each staff. The lessons notes have been stored as soft copies and by next year, we plan to have a fully effective E Learning Center.
Mr Mike, I appreciate your efforts in marketing for the 2020 Project and for the efforts carried out post 2015. I believe in a balanced approach towards child growth and would love to see former Grammarians support the school with ICT, software, instructional resources as we have moved 20 years into the new millennium and we have not been able to effectively use technology to teach. Integrating technology in the classrooms will ensure that the school maintains its mark in both the extracurricular field and the academic arena.
Over the last few decades, we have been surpassed by other schools in terms of academic/instructional achievements. The school external exam results have not been very pleasing when compared to other Suva schools and our teachers are trying their level best to bring about academic improvements. Currently, our exam pass rates range from 60% to 79%.
I envision the Diamond Jubilee as a changing point for Suva Grammar and we can use the event to carry out fund raising at school level (current parents/students) for the many necessary upgrading.”
In light of Principal’s comments, and as Suva Grammar is a Government School where Principal reports direct to the Education Department, it seems that Capital work projects including renovations are being carried out by Government and the pool renovation looks to be in hand. We look forward to further work being completed on the building of additional rest rooms and maintenance of existing rest rooms. Therefore, in my view, we ex-students can leave Capital items for Government management, a massive expense on its own requiring expert professionally developed plans and building projects.
Principal’s emphasis is: “By the end of this year (2019), we plan to upgrade our server and upgrade pcs for each staff… I would love to see overseas Grammarians support the school with ICT, software, instructional resources as we have moved 20 years into the new millennium.”
I’m impressed by Mr Pillay’s willingness to look at slightly more imaginative techniques to achieve something that everyone wants to achieve; a highly successful technically savvy Suva Grammar School. Suva Grammar and its predecessor institutions have been wonderful teaching and learning environments for thousands of students since 1883.
Now 20 years into the new millennium let’s help ensure Suva Grammar’s educators achieve new heights in their aim to prepare students for the world in which they will live, learn and grow. In order to do this they can no longer teach in a 19th or 20th century way.
“For educators, ICT in education will provide the required 21st century skills for its students enabling them to be successful and competitive in their future careers. The presence of technology in the classroom will increase student attention through increased motivation. There is also evidence to suggest that ICT will also increase student attainment levels.” [i]
Project Grammar 2020
Therefore, the SGS Diamond Jubilee 2020 Facebook Group will have one project for which we will raise funds – Suva Grammar E-Learning Plan 2020. The goal is to raise FJD$96,000 for this project alone.
Funds may well exceed this amount as my goal is to have 5,000 ex-students and their husbands/wives/partners in the Facebook group by February 28, 2019. We already have a membership of 4,370 ex-students. A $20 donation by each member amounts to $100,000. Many ex-students I know will give more than $20. They are just waiting for a suitable project to be enunciated in a clear and transparent way, with adequate accountability of their funds, to be created for them to support.
To facilitate the collection of funds worldwide, I will establish a personal GoFundMe account from Australia — < https://au.gofundme.com/ > (GoFundMe does not operate in Fiji). Funds collected, less the payment processing fees (2.9% + $.30 per transaction), will be monitored by me and handed to Suva Grammar through and in association with the SGS Ex-Students Association Committee at the 2020 reunion celebration.
GoFundMe has the facility to track donations and report the amount of funds donated on a continuous basis.
These details highlight the immense importance of ICT, Software, & Instructional Resources for SGS students in the 21st Century and in competition with other schools in Fiji already advanced in these areas. This as an important and valuable project for Suva Grammar.
I’m aware there will be other fund raising projects for Suva Grammar for the 2020 reunion, including fund raising by the SGS Ex-Students Association separate decade activities and Suva Grammar’s SGS old-scholars association, Grammar Rise Up, and the Grammar PTA.
This project is specifically designed for online digital processing of donations, thereby opening it up to ex-scholars worldwide, including many ex-students who may not be in a position to come to the reunion in Suva in 2020 but would still like to contribute funds to a meaningful project in support of Suva Grammar, their Alma Mater, that gave them such an important start in life.